My Bloody Valentine

Having been a big fan of My Bloody Valentine since the late 1980s Mills had been slated to undertake the art and design for their much anticipated second album following 1991’s acclaimed Loveless album. On signing to Island Records in 1992 talks between Mills and Kevin Shields towards a planned album began and characteristically dissolved into the mists of time. During the following decade, occasional discussions continued and dates were floated all amounting to nothing. In late 2012 rumours flooded the internet that the new MBV album was to be released before Christmas.
     On December 31st 2012 Mills received an email from Shields confirming the rumours and also informing him that it would, perhaps inevitably, be delayed, partly as the art and design that had previously been made towards the album packaging was unsuitable. Shields once again asked Mills to undertake the commission. Despite the pressures of time, in just over a week, Mills and his co-designer Michael Webster created nearly 30 new images and ideas for design direction, which Shields was very happy with. Given the green light to continue, the images were very quickly edited down to 18, further developed and then again edited down to six. The artwork was prepared and submitted for final authorisation.
     A week of silence followed, which was eventually broken by an email from Shields informing Mills that they would now be using other imagery, but that they might still want to use one of Mills’ pieces.  It also emerged that MBV had decided to use another designer to put the final artwork together, apparently because he lived nearby… No explanations or qualifying reasons were given as to why Mills’ works were to be dropped and no apologies were offered. This was quickly followed by an email from a manager acting for MBV whom Mills had had no previous contact with, telling him that now no images by Mills would be used. Again, no valid explanation was supplied nor was there any thanks offered for undertaking the work in such typically chaotic and vague MBV circumstances and at such short notice.
     Mills was understandably extremely disappointed and depressed to have had his work effectively rejected, but seemingly with no recourse to reason with Shields or his manager, he had no option but to accept MBV’s decision. After about another week Mills approached MBV’s manager to seek payment for his and his co-designers time and the works undertaken as agreed and in good faith. He was totally stunned by his response, which was that MBV weren’t prepared to pay any kind of fee as none of Mills’ work was being used.
     After a series of unsatisfactory correspondences, Mills was finally obliged to write to Shields and his management company outlining their unprofessional, dishonourable and exploitative behaviour and their wholly unethical position on fees.
Several responses feebly attempting to justify their ethics and their stance followed until finally they reluctantly agreed to pay a fee. Needless to say, the fee was negligible, being well below any comparable rates for similar commissions. And to add further insult to injury still no apology or thanks was offered.

Tony Williams (unpublished)



"During the prolonged period of enforced Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, I suspect like many others, I spent some time in reflective mode. I found myself returning to the set of 30 works I’d made towards possible uses on the Nine Inch Nails’ Hesitation Marks release of 2013. All of these works were subsequently published in the Cargo In The Blood limited edition multiple that was released following the album’s release. I’ve had and continue to receive enquiries about the possibility of some of these pieces being made into limited edition prints, so decided to go through them with this in mind, selecting those that I think will make good prints.

As well as considering the original works, I was also intrigued as to how a set of prints could be made using some of the pieces from the second half of the book, which is titled The Reverse Is Also True. This section features all the artworks subjected to various negative treatments and printed using the four-colour process over a fifth base printing of metallic silver ink. I chose to explore this five-colour process because I was intrigued to see how the unpredictability of this process would affect and work with the overprinted full-colour images. It also mirrored how my work evolves out of experiments with prepared chance, combining chemicals, solutions, man-made and organic materials. The results from such experimentation are always unpredictable, and while there are the occasional disappointments and failures, for the most part, they are surprising and often revelatory. Working in this way ensures that control is surrendered to the unpredictable nature of the materials, thereby avoiding the known and removing any ego from the work.

Having started life as mixed media works, they were photographed, then converted into the digital, after which they became the source of potential new works in their own right, works that could only have been achieved in the computer, the ultimate collage tool.

I’ve chosen a few of my favourites, which, instead of using the five-colour lithographic printing process as used in the production of the Cargo In The Blood book, are to be printed using the digital eight-colour process, onto a very beautiful iridescent PhotoRag Metallic paper produced by Hahnemuhle, the paper manufacturer whose paper is used for all of the Limited Edition Prints.

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to emulate metallic inks on a computer so it’s impossible to show what the finished prints actually look like. You’ll just have to take it on trust that they look wonderful; if they didn’t, they wouldn’t be being offered for sale.

Both sets of these new series, in signed limited editions of 150

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Russell Mills

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